Multiple shocks with a Taser could impair breathing and lead to death, the manufacturer says in a new warning to law enforcement agencies, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. A three-page bulletin, posted on the Taser International Inc. Web site and e-mailed to the company’s 19,500 certified trainers, contradicts statements the company has made to the public and law enforcement, as well as its own training manual. A 239-page training manual issued by the Arizona-based company contained contradictions, both urging officers to use multiple shocks to subdue unruly suspects and warning against it.
Duluth, Ga., police Maj. Don Woodruff, a certified Taser instructor, said of the new bulletin: “In the past they just told us that if you have a guy who is not compliant, just stun him again. There wasn’t that much talk about the health effects.” The new warning stops short of linking the Taser to the more than 100 people who have died since 2001 after being shocked. The company has been hit by more than 20 lawsuits, including some filed by police officers who say they were hurt while training with Tasers. A major part of Taser’s defense has been that a medical examiner has never named the weapon as a cause of death. That changed last week when a Chicago coroner cited the Taser as the primary cause of a jailed prisoner’s death.